In the lead up to the festive season and beyond, the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia has called on revellers to know their limits when it comes to drinking, as a new survey exposes the true extent of alcohol abuse.

A snapshot survey of 100 emergency departments across the country at 2am Sunday, December 16 found one-in-seven patients had alcohol-related presentations, with 30 hospitals reporting one-in-five patients.

More than 2650 patients were surveyed across the country.

“Harm caused by alcohol is the largest, preventable public health issue confronting emergency department doctors and staff,” Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) President Dr Simon Judkins said.

“The impact of alcohol-related presentations on ED functioning, ED clinical staff and other patients attending EDs cannot be overstated.”

ACEM has long advocated for the implementation of specific measures to confront the growing problem of alcohol-related violence, including establishing an independent regulatory body for alcohol advertising, sponsorship and promotions, and increased regulation to protect young people and children from alcohol advertising.

ACEM supports the advocacy efforts of partner groups such as The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and the Alcohol Policy Coalition, which call for liquor law reforms and to consider the wider health, social and economic impacts of alcohol harm.

“My message to Christmas and New Year revellers is this: we are not trying to be wowsers – it is OK for people to go out and have a drink – but what we want to make people aware of is it doesn’t take long to go from hero to zero,” Dr Judkins said.

“As a nation we tend to overindulge, especially during the holidays and celebrations around Christmas, the New Year and Australia Day. We need to think about the consequences before having that extra drink.

“Government, health professionals and policy makers, too, need to step up and put in place broad measures to counter this crisis of alcohol-related harm.”

Alcohol snapshot

ACEM conducted its 5th annual Alcohol Harm Snapshot Survey at 2am Sunday, December 16. 100 emergency departments across the country participated.

  • NSW – 13% of alcohol related presentations
  • VIC – 11.3 % of alcohol related presentations
  • QLD – 13.2% of alcohol related presentations
  • SA – 7.1% of alcohol related presentations
  • WA – 17.9% of alcohol related presentations
  • ACT/NT/TAS – 13.3% of alcohol related presentations

ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards.
Andre Khoury
ACEM Public Affairs Manager
03 8679 8813
0498 068 023
[email protected]